The Art of Virtue by Benjamin Franklin

The Art of Virtue

byBenjamin Franklin

Kobo ebook | February 16, 2016

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Having emerg’d from the Poverty & Obscurity in which I was born & bred, to a State of Affluence & some Degree of Reputation in the World, and having gone so far thro’ Life with a considerable Share of Felicity, the conducing Means I made use of, which, with the Blessing of God, so well succeeded, my Posterity may like to know, as they may find some of them suitable to their own Situations, & therefore fit to be imitated.—

From the Title I think you will hardly conjecture what the Nature of such a Book may be.  I must therefore explain it a little.  Many People lead bad Lives that would gladly lead good ones, but know not how to make the Change.  They have frequently resolv’d and endeavour’d it; but in vain, because their Endeavours have not been properly conducted.  To exhort People to be good, to be just, to be temperate, &c. without shewing them how they shall become so, seems like the ineffectual Charity mention’d by the Apostle, which consisted in saying to the Hungry, the Cold, and the Naked, be ye fed, be ye warmed, be ye clothed, without shewing them how they should get Food, Fire or Clothing.  Most People have naturally some Virtues, but none have naturally all the Virtues.  To acquire those that are wanting, and secure what we acquire as well as those we have naturally, is the Subject of an Art.  It is as properly an Art, as Painting, Navigation, or Architecture.  If a Man would become a Painter, Navigator, or Architect, it is not enough that he is advised to be one, that he is convinc’d by the Arguments of his Adviser that it would be for his Advantage to be one, and that he resolves to be one, but he must also be taught the Principles of the Art, be shewn all the Methods of Working, and how to acquire the Habits of using properly all the Instruments; and thus regularly and gradually he arrives by Practice at some Perfection in the Art.  If he does not proceed thus, he is apt to meet with Difficulties that discourage him, and make him drop the Pursuit.  My Art of Virtue has also its Instruments, and teaches the Manner of Using them. . . . Our Art of Virtue may therefore be of great Service . . . all may be more or less benefited by it.

And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all Humility to acknowledge, that I owe the mention’d Happiness of my past Life to his kind Providence, which led me to the Means I us’d & gave them Success.—

With the sincerest Esteem and Attachment, I am...your...obedient and most humble Servant.


This edition of The Art of Virtueincludes ***Succeeding in Conversation and*** ***Conversation HINTS*, *The Saws of Social Wisdom*,** The Rules of Health and Long Life, and The Adages of Health & Happiness; plus 44 other practical character-building pieces, and includes an exclusive glossary created specifically for the writings by Dr. Benjamin Franklin, the father of self-help in America.

Title:The Art of VirtueFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:February 16, 2016Publisher:PGS BooksLanguage:English

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